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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ferrari Spider by Kersie Khambatta

Ferrari Spider by Kersie Khambatta

“Hey...mum...I’ve got a Ferrari Spider.”
Nathan bounded up the stairs.
“What’s a Ferrari Spider? I don’t want no creepy-crawlies in my house!”
“Mum... don’t know what a Ferrari is?........”
“No! What is it?”.
“It’s a super-car, mum! It’s great! Come and see it! I’ll take you for a ride! Come on, mum.....come on...”
“I’m doing the cooking. I can’t come now!”
“Just turn the stove off,....... you can do it later.”
“All right! Okay!  I’ll come. Give me a minute!”
Anna closed the stove, and stepped out, wiping her hands on her apron.
She was shocked when she saw the shining, blood-red car with an open top.
“This is an expensive-looking car! Where did you get it from, eh?”
“ My dream come true! I’m so excited!”
“I asked you where you got it from, didn’t I?”
.“No, mum, no! I haven’t stolen it......if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“Cause if you have, I will skin you,....I will....”
“My friend gave it to me”.
“Your friend gave it to you, eh? You sure you are not lying to me, eh?”
“No mum no. I wouldn’t ever do that. I swear!”
Nathan had to lie!
His father had died (from cancer) ten years ago. His mother had struggled through the years.
They rented in a high-density area in Sydney.
He was the only child. His friends were rich.
He dreamed of a Ferrari Spider.
What was the quickest way to make big money?
He would borrow for a start, and make the money grow.
He went to the nearest Westpac branch, and demanded to see the manager. The receptionist at the counter was not impressed. She asked him what he wanted. He said:- “Money. I’ve come to borrow some money”.
She gave him an ugly look, and waved him to the sofa.
He crossed his legs confidently.
After a while, a smartly-dressed woman, with heavy make-up, and grey hair, old enough to be his mother, came up to him, introduced herself politely, and invited him into her cabin.
He felt a wee bit nervous. A vague feeling that this wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought it would.
“Now, what can we do for you, sir?”
“I want to borrow two hundred thousand dollars”.
She winced for the fraction of a second, but kept a straight face. She was superbly trained.
“Sure. But we lend on security, you know”.
“What’s security?”
She raised her eyebrows. This fellow was too young.
“People have houses, cars, they pledge as security for a loan. Do you own a house?”
“Nope, I live with my mum”.
“Well then, let’s see. Do you have an income?”
She was hungry,......and  this stupid boy was keeping her from her lunch.
“Not working?”
“Nah! I just finished school”.
“Well then, you can get a student loan from government for University.”
“Nope. No way!  I don’t want to go to University. I want  a Ferrari”.
“A Ferrari? Those cost a lot, you know! We don’t lend money to buy Ferraris.”
“I’ll try elsewhere then”.
He got up abruptly, hot under the collar.
He quickly walked out. He could feel her glaring at his back.
He went home dejected.
He sat with his head in his hands, feeling very sorry for himself. He wanted that Ferrari.
He decided to ask one of his very rich friends for the money. He had tons of it.
That fellow lived in a mansion, with a swimming pool.
“Hey mate! I want to buy a Ferrari. Can you lend me the money?”
“How much?”
“Two hundred thousand dollars”.
“Fine! That’s no problem. How are you going to repay it? And when?”
“Well, say, in about a year’s time. I will earn the money”.
“You going to earn two hundred thousand dollars in a year? How?”
“I don’t know how! But I will do it”.
“Well then.....let’s see. Let me think........will you work for me, eh? Do what I say?”
“Yeah. Yeah. I’ll do anything. Just tell me what”.
“Okay. I’ll ring you in a day or two.”
The call did come.
“Sunday morning. Be at the international airport at 9am,... stand just outside the
Air France counter. Take a suitcase with a few clothes. Someone will come to you. Just do what he says. And,..... go now, and get me a few passport-sized photos.
You will be  given a passport.”
“But am I going overseas? I’ve got to tell my mum”.
“Tell her what you want! Just be there. You will be back in a couple of days. Your trip will be paid for!”
What was he going to tell his mother? Where was he going? When was he coming back? Why was he going?
He lied that he was going on a short trip overseas with his friends. She was not too concerned. She had her own problems.
But he did not go with anyone. He went alone. He was given a return ticket to New Caledonia, a packet to carry, warned not to open it, and ordered to hand it over to a person who would collect it from him at the destination.
It was the first time in his life that he went out of Australia. He quite enjoyed it.
He spent the next many months going, all expenses paid, to different places he had never even heard about. Not to large countries or big cities.
Always to small airports, with little or no security.
“Have you driven a Ferrari before?”
“I’ve driven a Holden, mate.”
“Idiot! Don’t you know the difference between a Ferrari and a Holden? A race-horse and a cart-horse? We will go for a long drive. Get in”.
On the deserted, desert road, the sleek vehicle hit speeds of over two hundred kilometres an hour.
He was thrilled.
“Can I drive? Please, mate! Just for a short while. On the open road.”
They went through small towns, slowing down a bit, but not enough to go un-noticed by the radar-equipped, black cars, parked in side streets.
The message travelled ahead of them. The number and the description of the vehicle were relayed to the national computer.
Fortunately the block where he and his mother lived had a lock-up garage, and he kept the Ferrari in it for the night. He could not sleep. He was so excited. He kept admiring it, saying to himself:- “My dream come true! My dream come true!”.
He could not wait for sun-rise. He took it out while it was still fairly dark, wanting a fast drive on empty roads.
He did not even notice the flashing lights in the rear-view mirror, so lost was he in his own thoughts.
“Ah ha, son, nice car! Pretty expensive, eh?”
“Yes, sir”.
“Got a driving licence?”
“Yes, sir!”
“Give me the keys. Just sit quietly while I check the registration”.
He was scared. Why had he been pulled up? He had been within the speed limit.
“This car has been registered to some else. Not in your name. Mind telling me who the owner is?”
He hesitated. He was not sure whether he would be doing the right thing by telling the officer who the car belonged to. But then he decided that the officer must already know that, so he did tell him.
“You just drive quietly ahead of me to the address of the owner. I want to find out whether he gave you permission to take the car.”
“Yes sir”.
They parked in the driveway, and the uniformed officer knocked softly on the door. It was opened slightly, and then banged shut abruptly.
The officer called for back-up. But a loud screech of tyres from the back of the house proclaimed very clearly that the occupant or occupants did not want to talk to the police.
He was taken to the police station, and interviewed by plain-clothes detectives. They knew all about his overseas trips. They had the hard evidence of his involvement.
They had not taken him in, as they wanted the big fish.
They produced him before the court, and he was given bail.
Weeks later, they took him to the police station, showed him a familiar face through a one-way glass, and asked him to identify him. He had no choice but to do so. They knew anyway.
The stern, lady judge looked down at him through half-glasses, cleared her throat, and said:- “Young man, you have broken the law. That is a crime. You have to be punished. The evidence produced before me shows that there are others who are clearly the main culprits. They will get a more severe punishment if they plead guilty or are found guilty. I would have sentenced you to a term of imprisonment, but for your youth and your lack of previous convictions. I have come to the conclusion, on hearing both prosecution and defence, that in your case, a sentence of home detention is the least restrictive outcome, considering the deterrence aspect, and the mitigating factors. I hereby sentence you to a term of nine months home detention, at your mother’s house, which has been found suitable by probation for electronic monitoring. There will be the usual post-detention conditions. Lastly, let me tell you this.a fool and his Ferrari are soon parted! You may stand down!”
Kersie Khambatta, a semi-retired lawyer in New Zealand, is a part-time writer of articles and short-stories. His writing is recognizable by his simple style, with short sentences and appropriate words. He has a diploma of Associateship of the British Tutorial Institute, London, in English, Modern Journalism, and Journalism in India, and a Certificate in Comprehensive writing awarded by the Writing School (Australia and New Zealand). His pieces have appeared in publications in Canada, New Zealand, U.S.A., India, and other countries.

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